Monday, January 31, 2011

More painted things

Front and back of the latest doll jar. I'm not sure if it's finished yet or not. I feel like the body needs to be more than just straight black and white.

Thom should be going in the kiln sometime this week. 

I sent in my submission for the Skutt Kiln Peep Show. Rachel and Andrew were kind enough to take professional looking pics for me using their graduated backdrop. I really need to buy one some day soon. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Productive weekend

I started and finished a lot of painted pieces in the last 3 days. I'm trying to make deadlines for two show submissions, as well as have some work for the art show and student sale at the studio this Friday. I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished so far. Got a couple new pieces out of the glaze kiln, too.

Josie cat tile - this little tile had been sitting under plastic for more than a week, and was the perfect leather hard state for a little sgraffito. Rachel did a sgraffito demo in Thursday night class, so I went and bought some of the Duncan black underglazes she recommended. Gotta say, I love the Duncan ones so far, a lot better than the Amaco velvet underglaze I'd been using. For you non clay people, sgrafitto is a technique where you paint your clay with a kind of ceramic paint, let it dry, and the scratch your design into it, kind of like scratchboard drawing. For those of you not familiar with Josie cat, she is our awesomely grumpy old cat, and she looks a little like a very round calico bulldog.

More sgraffito, and more Josie.

I made this peep sculpture to submit for the Skutt Kiln Peep Show. It fits into one of the kiln peep holes, and is totally functional. If it's one of the 20 chosen, it'll be displayed at their booth at NCECA this year. I hope I get in!

I have more images, but blogger is being weird and loading them wrong. I'll post some more stuff tomorrow.

P.S., here's the show flier for this Friday. I'll have some stuff on display, and will be the wheel throwing demo person for the night. If you're out and about on First Friday, stop by!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Things that are not clay.

You might think that my one and only love in life is ceramics, if you were to judge my life from this blog. All I've posted for months is finished and in progress work. In fact, I pretty much set out to make this blog dedicated to my ceramic process and work, and intended to keep it focused solely on that. Seems like some know-it-all blogging expert somewhere said something about knowing your audience and keeping your blog on topic. Or some crap like that.

Of course, I'm kind of lazy, and I also get sidetracked doing all the other things I like doing, and that means super sporadic posts. So I decided fuck it, I'm gonna put what I want on here. I mean, I have a grand total of 49 followers. Are you all going to revolt if I write about my pregnancy, sewing projects, or my recent and insatiable need to bake things? Would you hit unfollow in a huff of disgust if I posted a book review or a picture of a weird bug I found? I'm hoping you're not that fickle, and if you are, there are plenty of other crazy awesome blogs out there devoted solely to clay, so feel free to bail. I won't hate. I just know I love reading other blogs that are not only clay (I recently discovered Corvus Tristis, a science/sewing/crafting/embroidery blog, that I heart completely!), and that it feels dishonest to act like there aren't tons of other awesome things that get me all jazzed up, or other things going on in my life. Anyway, it all comes together to inspire the stuff I make anyway. So, in a round about way, it's still a pottery blog. See what I did there?

Here are some things I've been doing recently that are not made out of mud.

*Cue FANFARE! Da na na NA!*

One of my amateurish hobbies is sewing. I've been obsessively lurking on and t-shirt surgery for years, drooling over all the awesome things you can make out of $5 worth of t-shirts from the thrift store. My love of making practical things, my hatred of clothes shopping, and my being an eternal cheapskate all neatly fit into clothing reconstruction. Sadly, I rarely actually sit down at the sewing machine, because I dream of making things much more than I actually follow through. Recently I've had a burst of crazy preggo energy, however, so I made some comfy maternity pants and a hoodie.
Shitty cell phone pic - sorry about that.

Also, I've been baking. A LOT. If you lived in my house, you might think I'd given up life as a potter and had decided to do a career switch. I can't help it though; I love sweets, and being pregnant makes me so hungry! I've been cooking a fair bit too, but I don't have crappy cell phone pics of any of that. However, in the future I may start sharing recipes for things that turned out particularly awesome. If you ever tasted my beef stew, you might be tempted to propose. Just sayin'.
Strawberry mango pies.
There's liquor in them:D

I got obsessed with pies over the holidays. One day soon,
I am going to make a second attempt at a lattice top,
and you will all be impressed.
These were Cranberry Peach with a custardy filling.

I had an insatiable desire for cake one week, and all we had was yellow cake mix in the house.
I doctored it up with orange extract and sour cream,
and made my own chocolate ganache icing. Soooo delicious!
Although the artist in me wishes it were prettier.
Like maybe a seven layer deal or something.

Banana bread!

Finally, I must share with you the recipe for this banana bread. A loaf never lasts more than a day in this house. A lot of the reviewers said they don't like the big purpley chunks of banana, but that is one of my favorite things about this recipe. It's the most moist awesome banana bread I've ever tasted.

This weekend hopefully more ceramics will be made, but I have to finish a charity t-shirt design before I can do anything else. It's top secret, so I can't post about it here... but stay tuned, good people. I will do my best to keep up the awesome, clay or otherwise, and share it here with much enthusiasm and overuse of exclamation points.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Do you feel like a chain store? Practically floored?

"Do you feel like a chain store
Practically floored
One of many zeros
Kicked around bored
Your ears are full but you're empty
Holding out your heart
To people who never really
Care how you are

So give me Coffee and TV
I've seen so much
I'm going blind
And I'm braindead virtually
It's hard enough for me
Take me away from this big bad world
And agree to marry me
So we can start all over again"

-Blur, "Coffee & TV"


"i jumped in the river and what did I see?

black-eyed angels swimming with me
a moon full of stars and astral cars
all the figures i used to see
all my lovers were there with me
all my past and futures
and we all went to heaven in a little row boat
there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt"
-Radiohead, "Pyramid Song"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Manic energy burst

I haven't thrown on the wheel in weeks, so I decided to set a little challenge for myself. I was checking my Google reader list and came across Cinderelish's blog entry about the 12 by 12 noon challenge set by Michael Kline. Since I've been wanting to work on making better mugs, I decided to make 12 of those.

I've decided to let go of my obsession with trying to make perfectly smooth, round, mugs that look like they've been slipcast with no warping. My cups need some personality.

This one is my favorite.

Unfortunately, I work an overnight job, and get home around 5am, so I didn't even make it down to the basement until 10:30 or 11am. I also decided some of my mugs needed feet, and they all needed to be altered a little, since I was getting bored with the forms I've made in the past, so I made things a little bit complicated for myself. By the time all the mugs were finished, it was 4pm! Oh well. The cool thing is, I got 12 mugs done, took a nap, and then went into the studio for my first class with our new Artist in Residence, Rachel Bleil. I got back on the wheel and made two new doll jars as well. Crazy productive day for me!

I had work that night, however, and I guess I just don't have the energy and stamina I did prepregnancy. Lack of sleep and all that throwing plus working overnight really wore me out. I've been sore all day, and my hands are cramping up a bit. But I went back to the studio today and started making some stamps and tiles, and then came home, drew on a couple of my mugs, and finally decided I need to listen to some Radiohead and bake a cake. Where all this energy is coming from, I have no idea!
Thom Yorke's awesomely weird face on a mug.

Blur lyrics, and my grandma's kitchen drawn from memory.

Doctored yellow cake mix cake with butter, sour cream, orange extract, and homemade chocolate frosting.
This weekend I'm gonna keep up the momentum. I have two back to back shifts at the studio, so I have lots of time to work. There's a couple of juried shows with deadlines coming up that I'd like to enter, so I've got to get cracking. More on those next post.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First (and very late) post of the new year.

After the holidays ended, I was still too preoccupied with other things going on in my life to get back into my studio in the basement. Partially because it was being used by my brother in law as a bedroom while extra people were in town. But also because I've apparently gone into full-blown pregnancy nesting mode. All I've been able to think about is making maternity clothes and how to make fitted cloth diapers from old t-shirts, what kind of mural or painting I'd like to make for the nursery, and what kind of things I'd like to cook/bake/eat. It's been kind of nice, though, because I've still been occupied with creative activities and making things; those things just haven't been made out of clay.

This week I start my new studio monitor position at the Beech Grove Clay Works studio, and classes start up next week. I'm ready to throw myself back into making new work, and I've already got a steadily growing list of experiments and projects planned. I'm also ready to start reorganizing the basement so I can begin working down there again as well. I don't generally make new year's resolutions, but I do have some goals in mind in the upcoming weeks - the main ones being to do something ceramic everyday, get down to Beech Grove for every available open studio time, and update this blog more regularly with my progress, at least a few times a week. I know that I won't continue to learn and improve and grow if I don't make ceramics a daily practice, and I also know that with a baby on the way, I really need to work at managing my time better. Studio time is going to become a precious commodity after I become a parent, and if I can't make time for the studio now, it's going to be rough with a baby on my hip! Lastly, I'm hoping to start doing a bit of glaze testing, as I've become disatisfied with the limitations of my assorted commercial glazes. I always hated glaze calc in school, but now that there's no grades or assignements, I feel free to experiment for my own knowledge and curiosity's sake. I would definitely like to have one good translucent copper glaze at my disposal to start with.

I'll leave you with some pictures of the last doll jar I finished, my Creepy Girl. I'm pretty pleased with the way she turned out, and definitely prefer the unglazed surface over my glossy, glassy Cat Girl jar. The matte painted surface really seems to suit her. I'm definitely going to continue on with these forms in the coming weeks.